Older people presenting to hospital with cognitive impairment are at greater risk of functional decline. Patients who are at risk of developing these problems during their admission are also vulnerable to functional decline. Identifying, investigating and responding to their needs is important to minimise this risk.
These topics provide information and recommend actions that we and our organisations can take to improve care for older patients.
Older people with dementia have more health conditions than those without dementia and are more likely to be admitted to hospital, usually for another primary reason.
Delirium is an acute disturbance in a person’s attention, awareness and cognition that can be caused by an acute medical condition or medication changes. Delirium should be treated as a medical emergency.
Depression is not a normal part of ageing; it is a serious medical illness that negatively affects a person’s feelings, thinking, behaviour and physical state.
Cognitive impairment screening
Cognitive impairment can have a significant impact on an older person’s health and well-being. It is important to screen for it and rule out treatable causes.
Differential diagnosis - depression, delirium and dementia
Depression, dementia and delirium have some symptoms in common. It is important to understand the individual characteristics of these conditions to differentiate the possible cause.
Reviewed 10 November 2021